Saturday, 13 August 2011

About The Blues - Part 2

What's amazing about The Blues is the endless variety it seems capable of spawning.  

It may be ironic to some, but I believe that variety is a direct result of the highly structured nature of the music.

Sure, all music has structure.  And yes, Blues is more than the near-ubiquitous I-IV-I-V-IV-I chord progression.  But it does have rigid structures, and afficianados are pretty strict about what they will - and will not - accept as authentic Blues.

With all these constraints, Blues artists have to try harder to sound new and fresh, to surprise and amuse.  Harmonies, melodies, rhythms, instrumentation, fusions with other genres  ...  Blues musicians are constantly working out how to stay true yet sound new at the same time.

The result of this challenge is that The Blues clicks on all levels.  We respond emotionally to the mood and the lyrics.  We respond physically to the groove and the rhythms.

And we respond intellectually to the stay-true-sound-new challenge.  How did Eric Clapton make that cliched turnaround sound new?  How did Stevie Ray Vaughan get from that note to that note?  How did Jimi Hendrix come up with those notes?  Did John Lee Hooker just add an extra beat there?

The Blues is the perfect blend of the satisfied "oh, ya!" and the astonished "oh, wow!"

No comments:

Post a Comment